Nothing is more delicious than juicy, perfectly ripe red strawberries. But how do you ripen strawberries faster, so you can enjoy them sooner? There are a few techniques, even when the fruit is already picked.
In general, the best way to ripen strawberries faster is to spread the fruits out on a paper towel and let them breathe outside of their container. Strawberries tend to ripen the fastest at room temperature or slightly colder, between 57-70°F (14-21°C).
Placing other ripe fruits in the same bowl as your strawberries can also increase the speed at which the berries ripen, as they emit a gas called ethylene, which naturally induces the strawberries to ripen faster. It will take a day or two for unripe strawberries to become perfectly ripe and ready to eat.
1. Spread Strawberries And Let Them Breathe
If there are still some white tops on your strawberries, you can quickly get them perfectly red with this simple trick. This solution will even work for strawberries from the supermarket which are already picked.
All you need to do is remove all the unripe strawberries from their plastic container and spread them out on a paper towel, plate, or similar neutral surface. Leave some space between every individual strawberry and make sure to leave the berries to breathe for a day or two.
After about two days, the unripe parts will have turned healthy red and the strawberry will be a lot sweeter. That saves a lot of sugar consumption (strawberries are naturally quite acidic and sour) and maximizes the nutrients you get from them! The YouTube video below explains the process in more detail:
2. Put Ripe Fruits Next To The Strawberries
Another one of those old tricks in the book is to place a few ethylene-producing (over)ripe fruits next to your spread-out strawberries. Fruits like bananas and apples produce an ethylene gas when they have ripened, which signals other fruits nearby to also start ripening.
This method does not work better if you capture the gas emitted by the ripe fruits in a bowl, so it cannot escape as easily. Ethylene is a lighter gas than air, so it will just disperse into the indoor environment.
One way in which you can effectively capture the ethylene gas, is to put the strawberries into a closed or upside-down paper bag with some bananas or apples. The gas will be trapped with your fruits and the ripening process of your strawberries will be significantly faster. Do make sure to check up on your fruits daily, since it’s easy to start seeing fruit rot that way.
3. Leave Strawberries On The Plant Longer
By far the most effective way to ripen strawberries faster is to leave them hanging on the plant for a longer period of time. When you grow your own strawberries, try to extend the time period before harvesting. Protect your summer fruit harvest from birds, snails, and insects as they will love to eat as many ripe strawberries as they can.
Obviously, this is a fast-ripening solution that will only be useful for people that like to grow their strawberries in their backyard. But even if you happen to pick your strawberries too soon (when there are still green parts on the unripe fruit), it’s possible to use the ethylene trick or the spreading trick.
Once the fruit is picked, there are no ways of attaching then back onto the plant. That’s why you should try to purchase strawberries from vendors that leave their fruits hanging on the plant longer. This will usually improve with local produce that is in season, as it requires less transportation and storage effort. You can also choose to switch from regular strawberry to bio-certified produce.